Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Live Peaceably

Romans 12:18 KJV "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
I had my two youngest children memorize Romans 12 years ago. I think they can still recite the verse. I get stuck with a few parts of it. I didn't make them do this as punishment. I chose this chapter from the Bible because I heard an old woman speak once and she said this chapter provided her guidelines for interacting with people.
I remember thinking how powerful that statement was and I wanted my children to have the same advantage. When I told them we would all memorize the chapter, they didn't even blink, but simply asked what version of the Bible we would use. The King James version is a little rough for my tastes, so I chose the New American Standard Bible version, which I read was a more modern, yet accurate rendition of the original texts.
Romans 12:18 NASB "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men."
The entire chapter is excellent, and I will write something on each verse, but I'm starting here because of the power of this verse.
"If possible" - sometimes it simply isn't possible to be at peace with someone. Peace should certainly be our goal, and our principle, but we can recognize (prayerfully) when it is not possible and move on.
"so far as it depends on you" - with all the strength you have you need to strive for peace with others, preserving peace where it exists and mediating with those who are angry. We should not start a quarrel. This means we need to learn to speak softly to people and understand their point of view, though we don't need to agree with it. My Grandmother used to say "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" and she was the central linchpin of that side of the family. As they say here in Texas, she walked the talk.
We are not responsible for the actions of others. Some may never be able to act toward us or our loved ones with peaceful intentions. We are only responsible for our own actions.
I used to tell people that my father sent me out into the world and told me to never forget where I came from and never bring disrespect to our name.
That's true; I just never said which Father.
So do not quarrel with others. Each person has burdens and it is part of our job to help ease the burdens of our fellow men, not add to them.
I don't always succeed, but I try to do a little better each day.

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